The Garden of Earthly Delights is a triptych masterpiece painted by Hieronymous Bosch between 1490 and 1510. Housed in the Museo del Prado in Madrid, it has become one of the most recognizable works of art in history. The center panel, dating back to around 1504, depicts a voyeuristic and dreamlike scene where human figures are stripped bare with animals and mythical creatures interacting with them.
The painting was controversial for its time as it depicts fleshy pleasures that some considered scandalous. The glowing colors, strange beasts, and surreal landscapes all add to the artwork’s haunting beauty. It represents an indulgent portrayal of humankind’s sins with a progressive concept expressing Bosch’s iconography from the fifteenth century.
As an artwork that showcases moral lessons through scenes appealing to the senses, The Garden of Earthly Delights center panel can be interpreted differently depending on personal judgement or preference. Still, it remains an intriguing masterpiece that has inspired countless artists throughout history.